We’ve been talking with one of its two members, Antonio Pelomono (Benalúa de Guadix, Granada, Spain, 1982), who plays drums, percussion, among others paraphernalia. Very soon we’ll be also talking with the other member, Pedro de Dios (Guadalupe Plata among others), so don’t miss it out!
So here you are the full exclusive interview, uncut and uncensored, well, only a bit… with Antonio Pelomono.
B.C. As introduction, who are Pelo Mono and what they do?
A.P. Pelo Mono are Pelo (Pedro de Dios) and Mono (Pelomono). And what we do it is explained on bandcamp, Pelo Mono EP. (pelomono.bandcamp.com)
B.C. Where, when and how Pelo Mono started?
A.P. During the recording of an interview at Perico’s house (Pedro de Dios) for a documentary about the blues in Granada, made by Rano Pro (Granada), a producer owned by some friends, when we thought in use the green mask it was in his house. After laughing Pedro confessed that he had an idea since long time ago, for a new musical project, with some songs he was working on conceived for a duo format, and using that green mask and a head of a gorilla disguise (both from the artist Beatriz Sánchez, who collaborates with Guadalupe Plata.) So he proposed my participation in this project, which I accepted without hesitation. All of this happened a day in October 2012, I think…
B.C. Where does the name Pelo Mono come from?
A.P. Pelomono is my nickname, the way my friends know me for many years. Perico wanted to use it to name the band, something about I was not convinced as it could seem pretentious from my part, as it is my nickname. Yet since it is actually a striking concept and after hearing Pedro’s arguments (a monkey hair is a dark thing, rough, which it not nice to touch…), I finally liked it and here we are.
B.C. What bands have you played for and/or are you still playing for?
A.P. Let’s see… I started playing drums encouraged by my cousin Isaac Fernández (my main musical influence), who plays in some bands like The Driving South Band, when they used to rehearse at the cave in Guadix. Along with another friend, the Oso, and other mates who were joining, we formed Bluestamina, the band which we started to get into the Granada music circuit. After his dissolution due to work and academics commitments of the members, I stopped playing for a while until encouraged by my friends Pepe García and José María Peinado, we formed Los Fabulosos Macarrones, band which later Francisco Padial and Allfreedom will be joining.
Shortly after, along with Francisco Padial and another friend, Rafael Navarro, usual bass and upright bass player of the Granada Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues circuits, we started another new project, Los Malvados. I was playing with these two bands for a couple of years, both with highly customized versions. So I carry on playing with both bands and I hope will be for many more years. Recently I have joined Whitechapel, a Power pop “iliturgitano” band, (from Andújar-Jaén), we are about to release a new album and we are already having some gigs. And also, not forgetting, Paja Burro, with José Bonilla, a covers “pajilleras” band.
Other bands I used to play with in its time are DesBand, Blues and Beer, and a very short stay in Los Recargables as well. On the other hand, moreover I collaborate on other friends projects as Pepe Macarrón and Allfreedom, and El Sonriente y Osombroso Folk de las Badlands. I am also preparing some other things with some other friends that I hope I can show someday.
B.C. Well, it seems that you don’t get bored (laughs). How do you combine all the bands?
A.P. Well I really don’t know … The point is that I do.
B.C. Has drums always been your instrument? Do you have a favourite drummer?
A.P. Mainly. When I was a child I also played the guitar at the Conservatory and later the trombone in the municipal band of Benalúa (de Guadix, Granada). Now I’m starting to get a move on the washboard instrument, I’m still green but I really like it and I’m very excited about get it under control.´
In my youth my favourite drummer was Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam). Chema “Animal” Pérez (Los Enemigos), Antonio Pax (Tres Hombres/La Vacazul), Esteban Regalado (The Driving South Band), Carlos Jimena (Guadalupe Plata), from Spain. But if I had to choose one, certainly not without difficulty because it set very high standards (John Bonham, Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell…) I’d say Ringo Star.
B.C. Your drums is somewhat peculiar, right?
A.P. (Laughter) and it should be more peculiar! Yes, I use a suitcase as bass drum and a trash bin as a small drum, as well as maracas, a washboard, rattles and other little toys. But the set is in full bloom, so it will be changing and “involutioning” until get the appropriate point of wreck. I have other cool ideas (Laughter).
B.C. At the moment you have only released an EP.
A.P. That’s right, recorded and mixed by Holger Guirisberger in his ghost truck and in the Valentine Armilla premises (Granada).
B.C. Soon you will release your first LP by the hand of Happy Place Records, with whom we’d like to talk at a later time, when it will be release, when we could listening it?
A.P. It still pending all the editing work but as far as I’ve seen, it’s well advanced. It’s intended to be released in late October, but if everything goes fine, there will be some previews on Internet by midsummer.
B.C. In which formats it will be available?
A.P. Our intention is release it on vinyl, CD and direct download, all of them with a curious edition in charge of the artists Beatriz Sánchez and Mikolaj Kownacki.
B.C. Tell us a bit about the recording.
A.P. It was recorded at Sequentialee Studios in Andújar (Jaén) by Pedro Cantudo during some odd days last March, when the songs were still fresh, a circumstance that gave us rise to experiment with them and put some ideas about instrumentation and production into practice, taking advantage of means and proposals that Pedro (Cantudo) provided us. Even friends who attended the recording provided their opinion and even their skills. I think these ingredients give to the result an interesting point of freshness and vivacity.
For me it was my first experience in a professional studio which caused me a highly stimulating effect, in other words, I was freaking out with everything. Apart from typical nerves and tension for this kind of situations when you have to do something very well and you don’t know if you will do, it was a great experience, thanks also to the homely and warm atmosphere that Pedro offered us.
B.C. What instruments and non-instruments did you use?
A.P. Well, Perico his guitar and his gadgets, which are many, a looper, stylophone, etc … and me, my suitcase and my trash bin of course, besides snare drum, hit hat, ride, washboard, etc.. We also use various shakes, bongos drums, and this kind of stuff for some arrangements and details. A buddy lent us his organ skills and even his own song.
B.C. Are you happy with Happy Place Records?
A.P. Very Happy (Laughter), yes, they’re people very committed to the project and really good people in general. At all times they have contributed their enthusiasm and ideas in addition to the most absolute support to everything what has been proposed. Well, I have the feeling that they’ve won two great friends.
B.C. And, are there any covers?
A.P. There are some covers…
B.C. How do you see the music scene, do you think there’s more and more people listening to R’n’R, surf, blues … or it could be just a fad?
A.P. I get the feeling that certain sector of public, increasingly large, tends to return to the roots. I’d like to think that this really occurs and is not a fad. In fact, the blues and rock & roll have made it clear over the years that weren’t just fads. I think “real things” remain, and for the people who like music, in some cyclically way we return to the “authentic” when we are sick of being fooled with “canned” music.
B.C. How about in Granada?
A.P. Hmm .. I don’t know, I guess it is like everywhere. Things could be better but we must say that there are some great artists here doing great things. And also people supporting these initiatives. As well you can find a lot of trend hunters, pathetic but … in everywhere is the same. Talking about institutions, shameful is the word.
B.C. What are the plans for the future?
A.P. First, release the LP and all the promotional works, and perform all we can and more, in both gigs and rehearsal.
B.C. There will be some kind of tour or album launch party?
A.P. I suppose so, a small scale for sure. Between us and Happy Place, who will give us a hand, we’ll get many concerts, for now we have some dates and there are more in process.
B.C. What is going to find those who will be going to see you on live?
A.P. Well two masked men in suits playing rock & roll (Laughs)
B.C. How do you see people’s reaction when they see on stage a guy with a gorilla head and another one with a green mask?
A.P. (Big Laughter) most remains caught, because the situation, masks, instruments, etc, nothing seems to make much sense. At least I have that feeling when I saw it on some videos recorded on live. If we add to this our hypnotic blues, fed in 1000 different ways … I suppose it’s a good feeling isn’t…? I don’t know…
B.C. Have you had so far some kind of mishaps?
A.P. Well … not on stage, but in other things that accompanies the stage… There is something about a Johnny Cash statue for those who know…
B.C. Fair enough. What do you think about your partner? Bear in mind that he will be asked about you as well…
A.P. (Big Laughter) He’s a motherf*****! Well, what I’m gonna say that people who know him doesn’t know… He’s great!
B.C. Well, finally, if you want you can direct the public or say what you want.
Listen and download Pelo Mono on pelomono.bandcamp.com
Video recorded at Boogaclub in Granada by Rano Pro.